The year of…

AT THE LIBRARY

2019 Chinese New Year is arriving on Feb. 5, 2019. That is the 4716th Chinese year. According to the Chinese Horoscope calendar, 2019 is the year of the Pig.

The current (2018/2019) Hebrew year is 5779.

2019 is the year of Leonardo da Vinci, who died 500 years ago this May.

The UN has designated 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages, to try and support 6,700 languages that are said to be in peril. Many could disappear by the end of the century.

This is also the year that all works published in 1923, except sound recordings, enter the public domain in the United States, the first works to do so since the passage of the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.

2019 was designated as International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements by the United Nations General Assembly given that it coincides with the 150th anniversary of its discovery by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869.

As it turns out, the annual calendar cycle is pretty predictable and the days of the week repeat every few years. This means that all of the days of the week match up, including possible leap days. Most holidays will match up, too. In 2019, you can re-use calendars from these years: 2013, 2002, 1991, 1985, 1974, 1963, 1957, 1946, 1935 and 1929.

At the Mifflin County Library 2019 is the “Year of Concentrated Collection Development.” We order new books and remove outdated and damaged materials all the time, but this year we are going to focus our attention on updating collections, replacing well-loved picture books (especially at Kish), and investigating databases to supplement specific topics that were once published as print materials but have moved to a digital format.

Our efforts began in 2018 by gathering some statistics about our overall collection and our customers’ reading habits.

We realized that the reference collection was sadly out-of-date and largely unused. Once an important part of public library services, publishers such as World Book have stopped printing this encyclopedia and moved to an electronic version. While I personally lament the passing of this once indispensable print resource tool I also realize that an online version can be updated instantly so new information is available in real time. We will continue to maintain a small reference collection, mostly local history materials, but for the most part, our materials will be available for checkout.

When assessing borrowers reading habits we found that 70.6 percent of the adult circulation is fiction, while 15 percent of the total non-fiction circulation are biographies. These statistics helped us to realize if we were going to continue to respond to community demand, we needed to do some major rearranging of the collections. Simply put, we were out of space for fiction materials so we could not “grow” that collection. On the other side of the building, there were empty shelves in the non-fiction area. Hence, the BIG SWITCH-ER-ROO. The result, empty shelves on both sides of the building so we can now add more fiction material while maintaining an up-to-date factual collection, including new biographies.

Since we did this flip we’ve heard so many comments about empty shelves and not being able to find materials. Understanding this is a big change, we hope you will not only grow accustomed to the new arrangement, but also be pleased with the expanded offering of new materials.

We are also going to focus particular attention of specific series of fiction materials. It is really annoying when you want to read all the books in a series and discover one title is missing. Yes, we can get the book for you through interlibrary loan, but more to the point, why don’t we have the book? In some cases the title is out of print, but if it exists, someone is likely to be selling it on Amazon or eBay. Although we won’t get a discount when we buy it there, the most important consideration is that we will have the whole set of books for you to read.

Our most frustrating efforts will be in replacing those much loved titles in the picture book collection. Not only are the titles out of print but the used copies are in a similar condition to what we are trying to replace. Curious George and Berenstain Bear lovers are going to continue to be disappointed I fear. But, we will keep trying.

They say in every library there is a single book that can answer the question that burns like a fire in the mind. (Lemony Snicket) Perhaps you will find that book this year.

As always, we happily accept monetary donations for materials.

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Molly S. Kinney is the director at the Mifflin County Library. She is currently reading, “A Gathering of Secrets” (Kate Burkholder No.10) by Linda Castillo. Thanks LR for the biography money.

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